What factors make older persons more vulnerable to elder abuse? November 7, 2019 Ann Jacobs The key factors that make people vulnerable to elder abuse include: complicated medical problems lack of mobility lack of cognition dementia or simply altered mental status All of those things can make our elderly loved ones very vulnerable. In part, this is because sometimes the victim of elder abuse or neglect may have difficulty describing the details of what goes on day to day, or explaining what happened on a particular day in an effective way to make themselves understood. Complicated medical situations can make them more vulnerable to neglect because your loved one may require consistent and accurate medical care and treatments, medication and charting by the facility to make certain they are getting the right care. Additionally, if they are incontinent and need their diapers changed frequently, that can be a significant type of neglect because if that’s forgotten or not done routinely, bedsores can develop. People who have limited or no mobility are vulnerable. For example, if they are supposed to be turned or given pressure relieving mattresses and devices, but are not, bedsores (also called decubitus ulcers) can form. Bedsores are (largely) preventable and can be an indicator that the elderly patient is not being moved and turned often enough. Sometimes people have difficulty swallowing. If they are not drinking enough fluids, they’re going to get dehydrated, which can be devastating in the elderly. Food issues and feeding difficulties can rise to the level of neglect. If the elderly patient is someone who needs assistance eating, sometimes they may be forgotten when it gets busy at the nursing home.